On May 8, Chicago hosted the star-studded red carpet opening night celebration of Motown the Musical with a packed house. Music legends, Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson; producer, Kevin McCollum; director, Charles Randolph-Wright; along with local leaders and celebrities, including Judge Mathis and Attorney General Lisa Madigan strolled the red carpet. The picturesque Oriental Theatre provided the perfect setting for this occasion.
Built on the bedrock of over 50 years of great music, style, soul and showmanship; Motown the Musical is the musical of all musicals. The production incorporates a whopping 60 Motown songs. So, you are sure to hear a few of your favorites. The cast literally transforms themselves into music icons: Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. The music that we all know and love comes to life on the stage, as they portray the story behind the music. Chicago native, Allison Semmes, captivates the audience as she embodies the personality of Diana Ross. It feels like Ms. Ross is actually in the room. The Motown the Musical Orchestra, conducted by Darryl Archibald, is simply flawless. Not only do they rock the musical selections, they accompany and complement the entire production perfectly.
In addition to the music, Motown the Musical educates the audience, not just about Motown; but about music, people and America. The show is a depiction of the way that the founder, Berry Gordy, Motown and music helped to shape this country. Music, recorded at a time when segregation was a way of life, has now become the "soundtrack of America." Today we hear Motown tunes in malls, restaurants, elevators, commercials -- any place where there are people. It crosses race, class and economic barriers. According to Motown the Musical, that is exactly what Mr. Gordy wanted.
Motown the Musical is playing at the Oriental Theatre through August 9, 2014. Tickets are available via the Motown the Musical website.